At first glance, I have nothing in common with Lex Sakai, the central character of Camy Tang's Sushi For One? She's a sports-freak, American-Asian, single, Christian, part of a huge family of cousins with a manipulative matriarchal Grandma at the helm and she has a real "Bite me!" attitude to life. But I instantly warmed to her and couldn't help but identify with her throughout the whole book.
Just like Lex with her multi-cultural upbringing, Camy Tang's writing is hard to define as just one genre. She describes it as "romance with a kick of wasabi" but it is also chick-lit with a kick of real-life and a huge side order of humour. It's definitely Christian literature but in a non-preachy way. I rather relate to Aiden, who is an agnostic with an open-mind, cynical of the hypocrisy he has seen in people declaring themselves Christians. Camy presents the world as it is - not all Chrtistians are perfect beings with faultless morals, some of them are sleazeballs too ! And it's refreshing to find this in Christian literature. She even presents a few of the Christian singles in her group as over-zealous evangelists, gently mocking them for their gung-ho attitude, so non-Christian readers will not feel ostracised. Her pastor's attitude of letting the non-believers find their own way rather than dragging them kicking and screaming to his church is a much more welcoming and ultimately efficient means of convincing people. Just as Aiden feels strangely drawn to the religious painting, I couldn't help but feel moved by the poignant description of Lex feeling God's presence and comfort in her hour of need.
The main thing I loved was the humour though. Despite some poignant scenes, the book is bursting with laugh-out-loud moments and this even follows through in the glossary of Asian words ("Camy Style") at the end of the book. There are a few too many unanswered questions at the end of the book - What happened to the volleyball team ? Did Lex keep playing ? Why was her grandmother on a one woman mission to get her partnered up ? (I thought she'd have some mortal disease which would explain her unwavering determination to carry on her bloodline and show her to be less fearsome and meddlesome as she appears, but apparently not.) Was her grandmother tied up in her dad losing his job and house within weeks ? - but it still gives you a lovely warm feeling when you've read the final pages and several scenes that will make you smile when you think back to them long after turning the final page.
If you've never read any of Camy's books but would like to find out more, you should check out my blogpost about her Street Team here too.
star rating : 4.5/5
RRP : £7.99
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Zondervan (3 Aug 2007)
Other reviews you may be interested in :